California Governor Signs Teacher Housing Bill
A bill signed by Governor Jerry Brown will allow California school districts to use federal tax credits, as well as local and state funds, when leasing property for the development of affordable housing for teachers and other school district employees. “When high-quality teachers can’t afford to live where they work, the entire community suffers,” said bill author Senator Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, in a statement. “SB 1413 will help school districts directly address the housing affordability challenges facing teachers and reduce high turnover rates.”
The bill’s supporters emphasized the fact that enrollment in educator preparation programs has dropped by more than 70 percent over the past decade in California. The legislation also notes 8 percent of teachers leave their jobs annually.
The rise in housing costs and teacher shortage has hit San Francisco particularly hard, and this bill is the end result of San Francisco’s mayor Ed Lee requesting a statute to permit the development of teacher-only housing on school property. The city of San Francisco has approved $2 million in funding for the new teachers-only public housing projects. Over the next five years, San Francisco school officials also want to subsidize rental property for 100 teachers. They hope to provide down-payment loans to 200 more. Additionally, plans are in the works to set aside $250,000 for counseling services for teachers who cannot figure out how to rent or purchase apartments or houses by themselves.